Adventures between a Cliff and a Wet Place. Brighty in Central Asia and Mongolia

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by ChrisUK, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    Hi Chris.... This RR gets better by the day :clap:clap:clap liking the sense of humour as much as anything..."functional"....:rofl arn't all ladies "functional" :wink:

    Megga photos too BTW.

    All those Honda V Twins riding around...good stuff....and WHAT !...no boxer beemers to show you all the way through.:D

    Keep it coming

    Cheers
    Potski :freaky
    #61
  2. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Of those riding bigger bikes, it certainly seemed to me that those who actually ride to/in interesting parts of the world tend not to take the less "functional" German flat twins, but prefer Japanese v twins. I imagine most of the Teutonic bikes broke down on their way to Starbucks. :deal I only saw 2 German R-bikes on the whole trip.:puke1...

    A quote from earlier in this thread:


    PS.
    No further comments by me on female functionality. I plead the 5th. :evil
    #62
  3. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    A couple of gps maps

    Now that I’ve reached the most southerly point on this trip and have been forced to turn round, here are 3 maps of my gps tracks so far with a couple of annotations. They might be of some interest. From now on, the only way is north... and east... and north east.... and east.... and south east... and east again.


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    #63
  4. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Here’s just a random selection (in chronological order…) of pictures from the Tajik/Kyrgyz to the Kazakh/Russia border: About 2500km where nothing untoward happened. Just a lot of riding, nice views and people, a bit of drinking and quite a few fun experiences.

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    Osh was a good place to hang out for a couple of days. Lenin Street had some nice bars and eateries.


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    A weird looking poster. Not sure if it’s for beer or whatever is in those packets. Wouldn’t eat or drink the stuff if you end up looking like those 2 Neanderthals.


    While taking the above pic, look what walked by…
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    Beehives and honey selling


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    Genghis Khan on a horse, on a bike. Note the “superior” side panel mod so that the reg/rec can run a bit cooler.

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    All uphill and downhill incline signs in Central Asia say 12%! I kid you not. Either the ex-Soviet factory only made this particular 12% sign, or the roads are all at 12%. I don’t think it’s the later. Some inclines were definitely steeper, some shallower.


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    Some (new) bag of sh!t Chinese Lonchin 125 thing. But nice stickers eh? A DRZ Gixxer. The ultimate Adventure bike?


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    What you can buy on the side of the road in Kyrgyzstan. The obligatory water melons and inflatable beach toys (Lake Issy Kul is a 100 clicks down the road).


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    A couple of interesting stickers (Colebatch’s and HU amongst others) on the gate of My Town Motors in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I went there to have a chat and buy some proper engine oil.


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    Chatting to the mechanic at My Town

    Somewhere on road north east of Almaty I had my “It’s as far from me to you as it is from you to me, you pig” interaction with a couple of bent coppers, as mentioned at the start of this RR.


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    While stopping for a comfort break where a gravel road goes off into the distance, who should turn up? Michal Rej and Marek Zarod, 2 Polish hardcore 4x4 people. They told me that down the track there’s an abandoned former Soviet nuclear missile launch site. Both were really nice guys. Michal has lots of YouTube videos including http://www.youtube.com/user/SyberiaMongolia2009?feature=watch


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    The site mentioned above.


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    What do you find at the end of a rainbow?


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    Ooops.


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    I was getting annoyed at riding through the nothingness that is eastern Kazakhstan. Then it started to rain. The only town I rode through only had expensive hotels and I couldn’t be arsed to put my tent up. Just before dark I saw a building on the hillside with no smoke coming out of the chimney. A shepherd’s hut. It was locked with a twisted coat hanger, but my Leatherman allowed easy entry ;)
    This is me at breakfast the flowing morning. I then rode 750km to Semey, close to the border with Russia. A really glowing (radioactive) town.


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    Having a nice chat with the locals while buying breakfast on the way towards the Russian border.


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    Welcome to Russia! Watch out for speed traps.
    #64
  5. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    R and R in Barnaul, Russia


    In Semey, Kazakhstan I teamed up with Moritz a German chap also riding a Transalp. The border into Russia was easy, especially when the customs bloke, who was from Kaliningrad worked out we could speak German. So could he and he took the opportunity to speak in something other than Russian or Kazakh. It seems to be the policy to station these poor blokes as far from home as possible. It was the same at the Russia/Mongolia border at Tashanta. The bloke at the gate was from Kaliningrad too.

    Barnaul was a welcome break for some R and R in “civilisation”.



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    Couldn’t find any bars, but saw me people hang out outside a mini-supermarket drinking beer at their cars and acting cool. That was fine by me and Moritz...



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    Olga is the lady on the left. Her blond friend’s name eluded me.


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    Olga was intrigued why I was taking her picture. I explained it was the shoes. :) She then impressed me with another pair she had in the boot of the car. They matched her nail varnish.


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    In the beer shop I couldn’t for the life of me work out why the security guard wasn’t letting me buy any more beer. Did he think I was under-age or had drunk too much? I think the sign says that you can only buy cerveza with > 5% alcohol until 9pm. So as it was midnight we had to settle for 4.9%. Made all the difference…


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    More legs


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    In Barnaul we first came across cars competing in the Mongol Rally. All the participants I met were very pleasant, less than half my age, but actually doing something interesting in their Uni vacation or GAP year. You really don't need a blinged up 4x4 to drive Mongolia...


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    Lenin the Toreador


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    The next day we found the Barnaul Biker Bar…


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    Hey Harley boys: This is what you call ape hanger bars…


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    Getting a lift home from the bar


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    Needed a front wheel bearing change, so went to Viktor’s…


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    … Viktor was out of town, but I think this is Sergei, a very competent wrench and nice bloke. The bloke with the glasses rides spoke some English and was able to interpret.


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    Ok. Finally a pic of a bike and a woman. It is of course a bike trip. Sorry forgot.:evil
    #65
  6. khpossum

    khpossum poster

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    Chris, great to hear you report. I was in Tajik / Kyrg about the same time as you were. I almost wound up in the same container, but the timing was just off.

    Just so people don't get the impression cops in central Asia are all bad. It sounds like Kazakstan can be a hassle, I limited myb travels to Kyrg and Tajik. I was stopped in Kyrg once. It took about a minute of talking before the cop decided not to bother. We did not even get to the subject of money. Mentioning my satelite GPS speed with its high accuracy and a lot of pointing to the screen and to the satelites in the sky greatly confused him. The subject detoriated quickly from speeding to how much did the bike cost and such things.

    In tajik radar guns were in use in a lot of places along the main highway to/from Tajik. I was stopped at least half a dozen times. Speed limits were very low and very confusing. After showing me the speed on the radar gun there was never talk of wanting money or getting a ticket, just a few minutes of friendly talk about "who are you", where do you come from" etc and back on the road. Very friendly bunch.

    KP
    #66
  7. Hotmamaandme

    Hotmamaandme Wishing I was riding RTW

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    Love it:clap
    #67
  8. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Hi KP
    It's a shame our paths never crossed. Yeh, the cops in Central Asia were generally cool. The only real pricks coppers were in Kazakhstan, but the "trick" of pretending to write down his badge number and calling a friend on the cell phone put an end to the situation (and that he and his buddy couldn't understand English, so my minor :huh "fat pig" comments went unpunished). I could have met a couple more, but just not bothering to stop to waste my time with them seemed to do the trick.

    The same with toll booths at tunnels in Kyrgzstan: Wait til another vehicle pulls up, they pay and the barrier goes up and you ride through too. The first time I did that one was on the Tete Corridor in Mozambique in 2000. Worked ever since :deal

    Re-entering Kazakhstan from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakh Customs were fishing for a cadeau: I suggested that I couldn't be bothered to show them the inside of my luggage and that it was easier for them to pick on the Russian bloke in the car behind me. They did, giving him and his car the full cavity search.:mulie

    All these instances were really minor incidents: I try to follow the mantra, if you've done no wrong, treat all uniformed types the world over with the absolute minimum respect required to extract yourself from the situation.
    #68
  9. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Somebody on a different forum recons that the Lonchin company has, since 2008, made the engines that go into the BMW G 650 GS. Not my thing, either made in Germany or made in China. I do however still like the idea of a Gixxer engine in a DRZ chassis :)
    #69
  10. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Great stuff! Thanks
    #70
  11. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley On my way

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    I increasingly find this on my travels that I am the oldest person on the road or in a hostel, as you say often by a factor of two, it can be a relief to meet somebody else with grey in their hair. :eek1
    #71
  12. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for continuing to take us all along.

    So what was Moritz's Transalp like, any photos? Come to think of it, how did yours fair, I know you had front sprocket escaping probs...anything you wish you had done in retrospect...what milage is on that engine?

    How do you find traveling on your tod to being part of a group?

    All the best for the forthcoming festering season.

    Cheers
    Potski :freaky
    #72
  13. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    At least you still have a full head of hair :evil:rofl
    #73
  14. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Moritz's bike was a 2001 650cc model. There'll be pictures coming of his bike in the Mongolia chapters coming up soon. I recall he had excessive fuel consumption. He was using 8.5 litres per 100km, whereas mine was using the usual 6 or 6.5.

    No idea as to the mileage of mine (1988 engine), but it was burning oil above 5 or 5500 rpm, so the valve guide stem seals are shagged = higher mileage. When the bike is back home after next summer's trip I'll get that looked at along with new piston rings. However when I took it easy (eg. max of 80kmh/h in top gear: I'm there to admire the views in any case), oil consumption was close to zero.

    My other 1987 600cc Transalp shows the same symptoms: That bike has done over 100 000 miles (don't know exactly what it had before I bought it for very little money and the odo cable fell off soon after :D)

    The only retrospective changes would be a lighter bike/ a back up crew with a beer fridge/ dancing girls:freaky.

    Solo or group travel? I'm very happy with solo, but a small group of 2 or 3 riders is good too if they are all nice people with similar riding pace/interests. Big groups: a definitely no no. Whether 1 or 2 buddies or a group, if there's one jerk in the mix, it spoils it for everyone.

    I'm avoiding the festering period by flying to Bulgaria to pick up the other Transalp (the 1987 one mentioned above) and heading to Istanbul and the western coast of Turkey. Hopefully a lot less people in the "festering" spirit there. I like people/populations of people who don't do Christmas.

    Bah Humbug:*sip*
    #74
  15. potski

    potski Wiley Wanderer

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    Hi Chris,
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p> </o:p>
    Right, so the 650 doesn’t seem anywhere near as economical as the stalwart 600’s... wonder how the 700 would fair... What do you think of them btw? Did you find the African Queens (strange name for a business, but hey ho) tank a worthwhile expensive addition?
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    Oil consumption: Yes, I have heard that the early bikes had a liking for a drop of the amber lubricant. My 88 bike as yet doesn’t use any that I can see, though it only has 65,000kms on it so I guess it’s early days, also it doesn’t see much constant highway 5/6000 rpm travel…. We’ll see how it pans out in the future as I have no intentions of parting company with it…btw, I have a 16 tooth front sprocket which helps, think you have too?
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Lighter bike: The early <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on">Alps</st1:place> are 175 kilos I believe, so not bad at all in their day for a 600 twin… I take it when you say lighter you mean a single like your DRZ? The Alp is such a good mile muncher in comparison, though admittedly not as good/light in the dirt…compromises!
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    So, you are not so much munching on turkey as driving on Turkey this year…sounds like a pretty good jolly to me …May your wishes come true and you find “beer and dancing girls” in the land of “Turkish Delight”…..Ride safe and I hope your festering is minimal but fun and ADVenture maximum…:D
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    Keep us all posted here; the scenery, colours and characterfull images are making for a superb RR Looking forward to :clap BUT…. watch out for cliff’s, corrupt/fat cnutstables and shallow but DEEP river crossings. …how about a few photos from your RR on the “show us your best ever Transalp photos” below?
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    Cheers
    Potski :freaky
    #75
  16. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    I think it was just Moritz's bike that had this issue, that than all 650s. Possibly it needed a tune-up. I think the 700 looks horrid and would never buy one. I got the AQ tank very cheap as part of a whole 1998 bike from a friend. New at about 1000euro for the tank is not justifiable or affordable.
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    Just getting decent m/c oil in Mongolia is virtually impossible. I'll be taking 5 litres in my hold luggage when I fly back next summer (2.5 for a change and 2.5 for spare)!
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    Of course everything is a compromise. Indeed, by light bike, I meant DRZ or something like a reliable (an oximoron, I know:evil) ktm690
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    Just looking at the weather forcast: In Bulgaria, where the "spare/other" Transalp is parked has for 23rd Dec got a high of 0 degress centigrade and a low of -10:vardy
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    Will do more on the RR when I have a moment. The (in)famous Mongolian river crossing is still to come. I'll try to post some Trannie pics on the "best ever" thread too.

    Merry Christmas and all the Best for 2013 to you sir, and all inmates on advrider.
    #76
  17. Tirpse

    Tirpse Adventurer

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    Hi Chris,

    Me and english friend Keith from Almaty were same time travelling in area and we met Chris in Songkul-lake and then continued to middle of civil war to Pamir Highway


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    Keep up mate! I will be watching your story.

    Cheers
    SamiV

    PS. Damn pictures are big ones. I need to resize them later today.
    #77
  18. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Hi Sami
    Many thanks for sharing these great pictures and memories!

    cheers!
    #78
  19. ChrisUK

    ChrisUK Been here awhile

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    Hi guys
    Haven’t posted in a while. Been busy moving house, sorting matrimonial issues and riding the "parts donor" Transalp (an 87 shed: You'll recall the trip bike is an 88 model with a 98 bodykit)

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    from snowy Bulgaria (Doug's in Idilevo http://motosapiens.org/moto/?q=en/node/1 ) to Istanbul/Turkey, where it was a bit less snowy, only just though! Met some great Turkish bikers from http://www.facebook.com/groups/kuzgunmotor/ also called http://www.facebook.com/groups/turkeybiker/ in Istanbul!

    Anyway, I digress. After sorting the bike and enjoying the R and R time it was time to head through the Altai region towards the border with Mongolia at Tashanta. There’s quite a few pictures. Hopefully they give a flavour of this beautiful part of the world.

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    Truck on a bridge

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    Beautiful valley

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    I was impressed with myself! I managed to track down some real (Russian) duct tape. I needed it. The bike is held together with it and cable/zip ties :-)

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    The new Russian chip and pin reader

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    I met these nice Russian cyclists from Ekaterinburg on their summer vacation. The lady spoke good English and told me the Russian for tyre changer:

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    This is where I probably was a bit heavy handed and blew out the sprocket carrier bearing which caused a few issues after I reached Ulaan Baatar.

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    Spotted this outfit on the side of the road and pulled over. A couple of minutes later this young lad rocks up with a container of petrol, pours it in the tank, kicks the engine over and rides off.
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    In the next village, I spot him again with 2 girls: One in the chair and one on the back. Bikes = babes?

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    Wow, another road user, shortly before the checkpoint where I wasn’t permitted to ride my off-pavement “shortcut” any further. The Russian Army officer spoke Spanish (!) and mine was ok enough to be told I was riding too close to the Kazakh border. Bollocks, I had to ride all the way back to the main road!

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    Altai house

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    Clarkson/ Hammond/ May were ‘ere.

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    Altai river scene

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    Overtook these Russian chaps on an Africa Twin. It had an eclectic mix of body panels. Why are they carrying a totally shagged rear tyre on the back?

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    Wild camp.

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    Ok, looks like I’m riding the bridge…

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    Sunset just before Mongolia border.

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    The next morning. I had just ridden 2 miles perpendicular to the paved road and pitched my tent, because I reckoned it would be better (and cheaper) than sleeping in the border town.


    Will be in touch again much more frequently than since the last instalment.

    See you later.
    #79
  20. egret

    egret noob

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    Most excellent !
    A quick question , unrelated to your ride report... Have you riden a Kawasaki KLE500 Chris? If so , how you rate it ?
    Thank you ,
    -zie egret .
    #80